Florida Sen. Marco Rubio says he did not intend to mislead anyone about his family history and the key element of his story is that when he was born, his parents could not have returned to Cuba unless they wanted to live under Fidel Castro’s repressive communist regime. Rubio also told Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly Monday he won’t run for vice president on a Republican ticket in 2012 — no matter who the GOP nominee might be.
Rubio has been battling allegations raised last week in The Washington Post that he embellished his family’s history by saying his parents first abandoned Cuba before Castro's communist revolution. O’Reilly asked Rubio, who later recanted statements his parents fled Castro, whether he misled anyone when talking about his family history.
“Absolutely not — the date that my parents came I was always under the impression that it was the late 50s and until very recently I didn’t realize that it wasn’t,” Rubio said. “They came earlier for the first time as legal residents to the United States — no special privilege.
“But here is the point: It’s irrelevant to whether they are exiles or not. The day that I was born in May of 1971, my parents could not return to the — to the nation of their birth unless they are willing to live under communism,” he said. “In 1956, the opportunities they had in the United States were better than the opportunities they had in Cuba. And let me tell you this, they won’t find a single credible Cuban-American voice in Miami that will dispute that my parents were exiled.”
Rubio said the bottom line is The Washington Post missed the point — which is the Florida Republican does not need to embellish his story, though he holds no ill feelings against the newspaper.
“I don’t need to embellish my narrative — my narrative is very simple: I am the son of exiles and of immigrants and that has framed my political thought,” Rubio said. “I’m not mad about it — I just want the record to be straight. Look, if they want to say that I got the dates wrong, they are right — and I admit that — I didn’t know . . . I got the dates wrong.
“But if they want to say my parents weren’t exiles and I misled people about the essence of my personal story, that’s not fair — it’s outrageous,” he said. “And I wish — I really wish they would have corrected their article. Because I don’t think it accurately reflects what I have said or what the essence of my story is.”
O’Reilly noted that because of Rubio’s background he could be important in bringing the Hispanic vote to the GOP in the 2012 elections, is reportedly on many hopefuls’ short list for the vice-presidential slot, and asked Rubio where he stood. O’Reilly asked the Florida senator what he would say if asked.
I’m going to say I have been here in the United States Senate for about a year — there are some things I want to finish doing here — but I really, really want to accomplish some things in the United States Senate,” Rubio said, adding any consideration for vice president was off the table. “There’s a lot of important public policy that’s come out of the Senate — the Senate is an important place — we can do a lot of good from there if we focus on it I believe I can do just as much good in the United States Senate.”
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